The empire created by Rede Globo in the 1980's encompassed 48 affiliated
stations, covering 98% of the Brazilian cities and reaching 17.6
million households with a TV set. This would make for an audience
estimated at 80 million viewers (Melo & Souza, 1984). According
to Straubhaar (1989), Globo managed to create a pattern of taste
among the audiences that was translated into the network slogan
"Padrão Globo de Qualidade", meaning Globo’s
Standard of Quality. The preoccupation with the production, with
more expensive sets and out-door shootings have been a trademark
of Brazilian novelas, more precisely linked to TV Globo.
Describing Rede Globo’s efforts in creating telenovelas, Reis
(1999) compares the production of a novela to that of a Hollywood
movie, where entire location sets are built to fit a specific storyline.
Another distinction cited is the inclusion of many outdoors scenes,
at least as many as indoors. For Reis (1999), "the nearest
format in American television would be well-produced network miniseries,
or made-for-TV movies." The network's vision to strive for
quality differentiated it from the competitors. Globo was the first
network to create an international department and the first to create
research marketing and training departments (Mattelart & Mattelart,
There is a link between the establishment of TV Globo as the leading
television network and its mastering of telenovelas, the most popular
television program in Brazil. Globo developed the ability to produce
an average of fourteen hours of original programs a day, all primetime
programming, including three telenovelas, being in-house creations.
Telenovelas dominate national programming and surpass in audience
all the other genres, including imported productions (Mattelart
& Mattelart, 1990; Ortiz et al., 1991).
Besides being the viewer’s number one choice, telenovelas
are, economically speaking, the pillars of television in Brazil.
This is well articulated by Zevi Ghivelder, cited by Ortiz et al.
(1991), when he poses that "telenovas are the most profitable
product in the history of television." He affirms that there
is not a great television network in Brazil without novelas. Even
though production costs may be high, they are offset by the price
tag of advertisement and merchandising. The production cost is also
diluted in the many chapters of the serial drama. Merchandising
is how product placement is known in Brazil. This form of advertisement
inserted in a media program to increase the visibility of a product
or service, has the unique advantage of not breaking away from the
program, but is intended to be part of the context, usually endorsed
by the characters (La Pastina, 2001). Historically, telenovelas
have an intrinsic relationship with merchandising, since they were
created with the purpose of selling soaps and beauty products. Scholars
agree that product placement in Brazil had long been a way to boost
revenues (Ortiz et al., 1991, Melo, 1989; Straubhaar, 1982, 1989,
1991). La Pastina (2001) contends that Beto Rockfeller was the first
novela to utilize product placement, popularizing a hangover medicine
used by the protagonist. Even though the networks did not officially
disclose the price for merchandising, it is the consensus that it
is well over thirty percent of what is charged for a minute of standard
commercial time. Knowing the financial importance of that practice,
Globo created its own merchandising agency, which is responsible
for the planning and elaboration of carefully inserting subtle ads
into their production. While commercial time in Brazil is regulated
to no more than fifteen minutes an hour, merchandising is not (Mattelart
& Mattelart, 1990, Ortiz et al., 1991). To sell to the international
market, scenes are taped twice with and without product placement.
Another successfully crafted enterprise conquered by Globo is the
music business with the selling of telenovela soundtracks. Original
scores are created for the specific story. A common practice now
is for songs to be arranged for the novelas, without necessarily
being created for the telenovela. To every new TV drama launched,
there are two new records on the market, one with Brazilian songs
and the other with international hits (Fernandes, 1994).
Globo built its media empire by vertical and horizontal integration.
Besides the dominance in the television market, Globo Organizations
is a business comprised of newspapers, radio stations, a publishing
firm, an advertising production company, a recording company, a
show business production, cable and satellite television, and Internet
among other sectors (Mattelart & Mattelart, 1990; Amaral &
Guimarães, 1994; Britos, 2000). Rede Globo is the fourth
largest television network in the world, capturing 70% of television
viewers in Brazil (Nechi, 1991; Allen, 1995). As its trademark,
the competition battle does not stop in the homeland. Globo is also
fighting to spread its wings abroad. In the United States, Globo
International offers programs through satellite TV.